Saturday, 05 September 2020 10:01

 

Lionel Messi is set to stay at Barcelona, at least for one more season.

In the short term,it is a victory for the club and its directors in a much-publicised stand-off between them and the Argentine genius.

But while Barcelona have won this battle there is no guarantee they will end up winning the war.

Messi is staying because he feels he has no option and that he has been deceived by the club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who he says always assured him if he still felt unhappy with the way things were at the end of the season he could leave the club as the contract suggested.

He may well be staying, but this is a man who wants to leave. The spirit of his contract said he could decide what he wanted to do at the end of the season. The letter of the contract said he had to inform the club by 10 June.

On 10 June, coronavirus meant the last phase of the season had not even begun. Barcelona were, at the time, two points clear at the top of the league with 11 games to play and still very much in the Champions League, with the second leg of the last 16 to be played. Hardly the time to hand in your notice.

At the time, Messi was comforted by verbal assurances he had received from the president that at the end of the season he could decide whether he wanted to stay or go.

In a nutshell, Messi thought he had a verbal agreement, but Bartomeu saw his chance and was not about to be remembered as the president who let Messi leave.